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Substance Use and Max Weber's Social Theory

Throughout all of Weber's work, however, the issue of rationalization receives treatment. Where a rational attitude is at work, so is movement toward an organized and orderly, society whose inhabitants have constructed agreed-upon conventions of enforcement of order. This is explained by Gerth and Mills:

The principle of rationalization is the most general element in Weber's philosophy of history. For the rise and fall of institutional structures, the ups and downs of classes, parties, and rulers implement the general drift of secular rationalization. In thinking of the change of human attitudes and mentalities that this process occasions, Weber liked to quote Friedrich Schiller's phrase, the "disenchantment of the world." The extent and direction of "rationalization" is thus measured negatively in terms of the degree to which magical elements of thought are displaced, or positively by the extent to which ideas gain in systematic coherence and naturalistic consistency (Gerth & Mills, 1946, p. 51).

Coherence and consistency in social structure and behavior patterns point in the direction of conventions of social enforcement, hence, to the nature of the state apparatus. In discussing the legitimacy of the state apparatus, Weber focuses on the practical ability to arrive at an ordered sense of such principles as individual rights and a shared sense of "rightness" or legitimacy of the covenants under which human beings associate with one another. Further, Weber argue


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